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Lou J. Klaiber

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Omaha Beach (June 1964)
October 9, 2009

I was on leave from Berlin Brigade, and Normandy was seeing its 20th anniversary of D Day. I rode a motorcycle from Helmstedt north by northwest into Belgium and then back toward France. It was like visiting WW2 in reverse.

The memorial above the beach at Normandy brought me into tears, as I stood looking at the field of crosses and the heartbreak of history.

I went down to the beach to walk alone, unable to imagine what really happened that day, June 6 1944. I noticed a man standing and shouting, and waving his arms ...a woman stood behind him. She was crying. As I approached, he looked at me; his scarred face, torn and bent, jaw moving side to side as he said..., "You! You look just like O'Brian... He was killed, almost right here..., when I fell and lost the war. I never made it off this 'fffnnn' beach..., O'Brian looked just like you... Boy!"

The lady was crying, and waving her arms at me... to go away.

As I passed by, she said a quiet... "Thank You!" I was crying myself. He kept saying he never got off the damn beach. He was saying to his Brothers... "I am sorry!"

As I moved on with tears flowing from my eyes, he turned and yelled at me... "Boy! You sure look like my buddy...O'Brian!"

I guess I was... For that moment, in June 1964, on the 20th anniversary of D-Day, I was damn proud to be O'Brian.

By Lou J. Klaiber
Copyright 2003

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